Into dancing - contact improvisation

The dance ensues through the continuation of the movement through the levels, and in space, sustaining and breaking contact with your partner whilst negotiating who is leading and who is following and at times both are moving together. The idea is to be in the moment, to respond reflexively to each other and to navigate in space. Improvisation is about allowing movement to happen, to go with what happens next, but you have the option to change, to shift, to stop, to communicate with your partner – that is the idea – to move in partnership with others.

Leading and following

Standing side by side, one bends their arm at the elbow, creating a horizontal ledge, the other puts their arm flexed at the elbow on top. Both connect through this ledge to their partners centre. The person whose arm is under initiates movement of the arm from the shoulder, keeping the ledge and the partner follows actively engaging with the lead. The arm is like a ‘rudder’ moving right and left, up and down, forwards and back, then the lead moves forward into space, walking together, ensuring the pace is appropriate to keep the partner in time. This requires physical listening, attuning to the partner and not taking off regardless. The rudder becomes a level which can rise and fall, stop and start, take the movers in different directions and on an exploratory journey through different levels, rhythms or speeds.

PHOTO Katy and Stuart folder head to head

Forehead to forehead

Create a triangle with index fingers together and thumbs together, palms facing away. Find a partner of similar height and place the palms together to join triangles. Both place foreheads in the triangle space so they touch, then take the hands away. Stand with the weight balanced on both feet. Feel small initiations of movement at the forehead, and start to follow these initiations, so both partners are rolling across the forehead and starting to turn out to the sides, eventually they turn around and roll around the side of the head, the back of the head back to facing front, walking the feet around under them.

Orientation and disorientation

Learning to go backwards, to take the feet off the ground, to feel supported by others and balancing body awareness, a sense of the body scheme by unifying the body sense working back to back, front to back, to side or front; side to side, or front or back, and spiraling.


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